Created By: MonaNaito on May 2, 2013 Last Edited By: MonaNaito on September 13, 2014

Tricking Them Into A Room Together

Characters lie to their feuding friends to get them both in the same place.

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Alice and Bob can't stand to be around each other. Everyone else, however, needs to get them both in a room together. Maybe they want Alice and Bob to work out their differences, or maybe their simultaneous presence is required for something totally unrelated.

So, Charlie lures them both to the same meeting on some pretext. If Alice asks about Bob, Charlie will assure her that Bob won't be there, and similarly will tell Bob that Alice won't be present. Needless to say, they are pissed off when they show up and see one another, usually saying something like "What's HE doing here?" and/or trying to storm out immediately.

Can be part of a Feud Episode if Alice and Bob were originally friends, and reconcile shortly thereafter. May overlap with Locked in a Room if the characters decide to lock Alice and Bob in the room to expedite the reconciliation process.

Examples

Comic Books
  • In one Archie comic Jughead and Archie fight and refuse to talk to each other. Their friends arrange to have them both come to the same party, without telling either of them the other was invited.
  • In the Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing, John Constantine managed to get a bunch of magic-empowered characters to get together in the same room for a seance, basically with a lot of lies and half-truths.

Film
  • In Goldfinger, the title character gets gangsters from all over the country into the same room together, much to their displeasure. He's doing it so he can exercise his ego by explaining his master plan to them. He then murders them with the nerve gas he was planning to use on Fort Knox.
    Hood #1: Goldfinger, why weren't we told New York and the West Coast were in on this?
    Hood #2: I do not do business with Chicago.
    Hood #3: I thought we had a private business deal to settle. Now I find I'm attending a hoods' convention.

Live-Action TV
  • Done by Jean a few times in As Time Goes By when Judy and Sandy are angry at Alistair and Harry (respectively) and she's trying to get them back together. It's so expected that Judy assumes this is the case when Alistair drops by for a completely unrelated reason.
  • In Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert and Ray Barone engineer a pretext to get Debra and Marie in the same room to resolve the argument that has prevented them from talking to or even acknowledging each other for a month.
  • Somewhat averted in Gilligan's Island. The castaways threw a party to reunite the Howells after they had an argument. When invited, each asked, "Will that man (that woman) be there?" But instead of lying, the others were honest and answered that the other would be present.
  • An episode of The Story of Tracy Beaker has Lol and Bouncer fall out with each other. This leads to Hayley tricking Bouncer into having a tea party with her in a wendy house. When Bouncer goes in, he sees Lol is inside, and then gets shoved (and locked) inside by Tracy and Hayley.

Tabletop Games
  • A mass version of this occurs in the Shadowrun sourcebook Aztlan. The Great Dragon Dunklezahn uses trickery to get a number of immortal elves and other powerful characters together in the same chat session, many of whom hate each other and would never get together voluntarily.

Western Animation
  • In the The Critic episode "Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice," the latter two attempt to reconcile the former pair of feuding film critics by inviting them to a romantic dinner at the top of a New York skyscraper under the guise of prestigious celebrity interviews.
    Ebert: Oh, this is just a rip-off of Sleepless In Seattle.
    Siskel: Which was itself a rip-off of An Affair to Remember.
    Both: Which wasn't that good of a movie to start with!
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", Squidward gets SpongeBob and Patrick fighting against each other, which results in the two of them trying to make Squidward their new best friend. To put an end to that, he invites the two separately to his house for soda and leaves them alone. The two eventually reconcile (although Squidward's house is destroyed in the process).
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "The PTA Disbands", Edna Krabappel calls a strike of the teachers' union to protest Principal Skinner's miserly spending. Ultimately Bart and Milhouse have to trick the other two into Skinner's office and lock the door to force negotiations. Being trapped together "like prisoners" in their own school inspires the faculty to rent out the school cloakrooms to the Springfield Prison.
    • In the episode "Behind the Laughter," the whole family is in a feud, and Willie Nelson holds a phony awards ceremony to get them back together. He invites each member individually to accept a TV award without telling them that the other members will be there to accept it with them.
    • In "The Sweetest Apu", when Apu and Manjula split up, Marge proposes bringing them together by inviting them individually to the same dinner party.
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • May 3, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • A mass version of this occurs in the Shadowrun sourcebook Aztlan. The Great Dragon Dunklezahn uses trickery to get a number of immortal elves and other powerful characters together in the same chat session, many of whom hate each other and would never get together voluntarily.
  • May 3, 2013
    TonyG
    In the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", Squidward gets SpongeBob and Patrick fighting against each other, which results in the two of them trying to make Squidward their new best friend. To put an end to that, he invites the two separately to his house for soda and leaves them alone. The two eventually reconcile (although Squidward's house is destroyed in the process).
  • Western Animation
    • In The Simpsons episode "The PTA Disbands", Edna Krabappel calls a strike of the teachers' union to protest Principal Skinner's miserly spending. Ultimately Bart and Milhouse have to trick the other two into Skinner's office and lock the door to force negotiations. Being trapped together "like prisoners" in their own school inspires the faculty to rent out the school cloakrooms to the Springfield Prison.
  • May 5, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • In Goldfinger, the title character got gangsters from all over the country into the same room together, much to their displeasure. He's did it so he could exercise his ego by explaining his master plan to them. He then murdered them with the nerve gas he was planning to use on Fort Knox.
    Hood #1: Goldfinger, why weren't we told New York and the West Coast were in on this?
    Hood #2: I do not do business with Chicago.
    Hood #3: I thought we had a private business deal to settle. Now I find I'm attending a hoods' convention.
  • June 11, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    One other episode of the Simpsons had the whole family in a feud, so they invited each member individually to accept a TV award, not knowing that the other members would be there to accept it with them.
  • June 11, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^ That episode is "Behind the Laughter" and Willie Nelson is the one who holds the phony awards show to get the family back together.
  • June 16, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • Done by Jean a few times in As Time Goes By when Judy and Sandy are angry at Alistair and Harry (respectively) and she's trying to get them back together. It's so expected that Judy assumes this is the case when Alistair drops by for a completely unrelated reason.
  • September 15, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Might not count:
    • My Name Is Earl: During the Prison Arc Earl helps the warden by getting the leaders of two feuding gangs to tolerate (if not like) each other by putting them in solitary confinement together. Since they're prisoners they aren't lied to (unles you count Lie Of Omission by not telling them in the first place), they're just forced to go to place X where the other guy also is. Ultimiately subverted though, since the two gang leaders end up falling in love with each other and start fights on purpose just so they'll be tossed into solitary together in order to be together.
  • September 16, 2013
    MonaNaito
    ^ Hmmm. I think the act of deception is important in this trope. I don't think that just dragging two people into the same holding cell would count, but you should add it to the Locked In A Room page if it isn't already there.

    There is some overlap between this trope and Locked In A Room, but for me the crucial differences are thus: 1. Characters can be Locked In A Room without it being this trope, as they could be forced there (such as your example) or just get stuck by accident (e.g. they take the same elevator and it breaks down) rather than being lured there through deception.

    2. This trope, unlike Locked In A Room, also extends to situations in which characters are lured to the same place but then have the option of leaving, or are only prevented from leaving by politeness/their desire to humor the whims of their other friends/etc.
  • September 16, 2013
    DAN004
    Maybe the guy doing this to a jerkass and a tsundere believes that Aw Look They Really Do Love Each Other.
  • September 16, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^Going by rule 2 the Simpsons "The PTA Disbands" doesn't count, because Skinner & Krabappel are locked into his office by the other characters. Only after pounding on the door for hours do they start to talk.
  • September 16, 2013
    MonaNaito
    ^Sorry, what I meant by rule 2 was that this trope, unlike Locked In A Room, covers situations where characters are free to go as well as situations where they are stuck together. What matters is that they were led there by trickery.

    Basically, not all examples of Getting Them In A Room Together are Locked In A Room, and not all examples of Locked In A Room are Getting Them In A Room Together, but there is some overlap.
  • September 16, 2013
    FastEddie
    This seems to be about one particular way to get them together. There are many others. Either redraft to make it about the general case or name this one so it is about this variation.
  • September 28, 2013
    MonaNaito
    ^I'm all in favor of a different name, this one was always meant to be a placeholder until someone came up with something better.
  • September 5, 2014
    SpiderRider3
    In one Archie comic Jughead and Archie fight and refuse to talk to each other. Their friends arrange to have them both come to the same party, without telling either of them the other was invited.
  • September 5, 2014
    Spindriver
    Classic comic book example; in the Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing, John Constantine managed to get a bunch of magic-empowered characters to get together in the same room for a seance, basically with a lot of lies and half-truths.
  • September 5, 2014
    aradia22
    Taking the laconic definition into account, do we have a trope for when the friends lie and tell Bob that Alice wants to apologize and vice versa but in truth the friends just made that up to get them into the same room?
  • September 5, 2014
    DAN004
    Title should be Tricking Them Into A Room.
  • September 6, 2014
    MonaNaito
  • September 6, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ No need for "the same", I guess. "A" room implies "one and the same" room.
  • September 9, 2014
    AgProv
    In Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert and Ray Barone engineer a pretext to get Debra and Marie in the same room to resolve the argument that has prevented them from talking to or even acknowledging each other for a month. Robert's involvement with (and dissillusionment from) a smiling-faced Moonie religious cult is the excuse they need; Marie doesn't need to know Robert has already left the cult. A family and friends intervention brings the warring women together. Truly the Path, in its straighty straightness, is indeed straight...
  • September 9, 2014
    Daefaroth
    Related to an abandoned YKTTW Staging An Intervention which can probably be mined for examples.
  • September 9, 2014
    triassicranger
    Does the trope still count if we only see one of the people arguing being lured to the meeting place and we don't see the other half?
  • September 9, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ that's either downplayed or subverted
  • September 10, 2014
    hbi2k
    Western Animation
    • In the The Critic episode "Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice," the latter two attempt to reconcile the former pair of feuding film critics by inviting them to a romantic dinner at the top of a New York skyscraper under the guise of prestigious celebrity interviews.
      Ebert: Oh, this is just a rip-off of Sleepless In Seattle.
      Siskel: Which was itself a rip-off of An Affair To Remember.
      Both: Which wasn't that good of a movie to start with!
  • September 12, 2014
    triassicranger
    Well here we go with a downplayed example then:

    Live Action Television
    • An episode of The Story of Tracy Beaker has Lol and Bouncer fall out with each other. This leads to Hayley tricking Bouncer into having a tea party with her in a wendy house. When Bouncer goes in, he sees Lol is inside, and then gets shoved (and locked) inside by Tracy and Hayley.
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